I imagine that if anyone watched me take bag after bag of trash out of my home in the course of a week, that it must be like watching 50 clowns getting out of a Volkswagen Bug at a circus. I remember a friend stopping by one day and commenting on all the trash barrels the ajoining condos, that I live at, had accumulated for the trash man. She was very surprised when I told her that all those barrels belonged to me!
I have a very, very small closet/shed in which I store my 5 trash barrels with covers, my Christmas tree stand, beach chairs, paint and all of the recyclable cans my neighbors collect for, mainly my son, for fun money...I also store all of my trash in there until trash day. It is quite a site. I try to get my trash ready late the night before the trash man comes, because of the fiasco I have to go through to get it all ready. I am too embarrassed in the light of day for my neighbors to see the ugly truth. I am beginning to see more and more how my lack of organization really does make me feel embarrassed, if not ashamed, of how out of control many things have gotten for me. I also realize again, where I am falling short as a mother. How can I expect my child to help out with certain chores, for example, this one, when in order to do the chore, it's as if I am asking my child to do it while stepping into a huge cobweb!
To shine a spotlight on the trash routine, here it is....First, I take out the beach chairs, then the Christmas tree stand, then all the little grocery store bags filled with various plastic bottles and soda cans, (One day the bottles and cans got so overwhelming, I filled up my car and redeemed the money myself. I believe I had over 450 of them that I had been moving back and forth!) then the barrel lids, then the barrels. Oh, and the trash. That's usually stuffed in an amongst all of these. I usually bring out a box of new trash bags so that I can double wrap any and all of the bags in case any of them started leaking....I then put back any barrels and covers not needed, the beach chairs, Christmas tree stand and bottles. (And then sadly, after the trash is picked up, I take it all out again to put the empty barrels back.)
All this taking out and putting back reminds me of when I was in college and I rented a space in a driveway. I rented space in a elderly woman's driveway with 2 other girls that had cars on campus. The only glitche was I was the only one with a stick shift that no one else knew how to drive. So, to solve this problem, I had to always park at the top of the driveway and the other girls parked behind me. When I wanted to leave to go to work, I had to move each one of their cars (I had an extra set of their keys) into the street, move my car out and then move their cars back in. When I came home, I had to move their cars out again into the street, move my car to the top of the driveway and then move their cars back behind mine. Now, doing this over a period of months and month either proves that I am a really patient person or crazy, or maybe a little bit of both! So, here I am, 25 years later, emulating the same thing, moving things out, moving things back, over and over and over and over. Yes, maybe just crazy! I have to say though, when I have all of the trash double bagged and in a trash barrel with their lids on tight all lined up for the trash man, I feel this great sense of accomplishment, like they are a row of birthday packages with neated curled bows ready for a party.
As I stated in my last post, the first chapter in Regina's book deals with the kitchen. I had lots of trash when I was done "tearing though" the kitchen. Funny, too, my son came home and said, "Mom, you tore through the kitchen." And I said, "That's just what the book said to do, I must be doing it right!" Well, as I dug though all my cabinets, I couldn't believe all the food that had expired. And, I truly thought I had at least looked at my food the last few months...How could I have spices that expired years ago? I also found something petrified... I thought it was a potato, but then I recalled that in my old apartment I had left some potatoes in a cabinet and totally forgot about them. One day I opened the cabinet and leapt back with a scream! There were what looked like trees growing in there! I had no idea that could happen from a potato!
Finally, as I continued to dig through, I found cans and cans of pumpkin. I used to make pumpkin bread for the Nation (as my sister has said) during the holidays when I was younger, but as the years have gone by, my intention is there, but my pumpkin bread baking has been dwindling. I hate when cans don't have dates and none of these did so, I thought, "Start fresh, toss it!" But, I felt bad on the morning of trash day when I heard from inside, the garbage man yell out something about my trash being so heavy....it must have been the pumpkin barrel. Sorry Mr. Trashman! I must remember to give him a Christmas card this year with a Dunkin's gift card and maybe a loaf of pumpkin bread.
PS. My dream, some day soon, when I am finished with Chapter 5, "Tackling the Hidden Areas: Attic, Basement, Garage, Laundry Room and Guest Room" in Regina Leeds, One Year to An Organized Life, is to call my son from the grocery store and say, "Please put out the trash." : )